Government seeks information on Aussie manufacturers that could produce COVID-19 vaccine locally

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The Federal Government is putting a call out to local manufacturers as part of its strategy to produce a future vaccine and treatments for COVID-19. 

The Request for Information (RFI) builds on the Government’s $333 million investment in vaccine, treatment and therapeutic research and development. It is seeking submissions from local manufacturers to help inform the Government’s decision-making and identify those opportunities which can feasibly be explored to support COVID-19 vaccine and treatments manufacture.

It is looking into information regarding COVID-19 vaccine and treatment manufacture and supply, in particular, manufacturer current capability and capacity, as well as manufacturer willingness to expand, modify or repurpose capability and capacity to support at population-scale the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews said the RFI will be used to create a shortlist of potential local manufacturers and to determine the extent to which the production and distribution can be supported locally once an effective candidate is found.

“Australian scientists are at the heart of the global quest for a vaccine and we want to make sure Australian manufacturers can be central to the production once that vaccine is found,” Minister Andrews said.

“Australia already has impressive capability when it comes to producing vaccines, which as a Government we are well aware of. This request for information is about identifying more niche manufacturers, including those who may be able to pivot or have the capability but would need support to scale up their operations.”

“This information will help prepare Australia for the future as well, building our knowledge and strengthening our manufacturing capability to respond to other pandemics down the track.”

“This is not a request for tender, but a request to manufacturers to tell us what they can do.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government’s vaccine strategy consists of four key pillars – research, purchasing agreements, international agreements and onshore manufacturing.

“This next stage follows on from our research into vaccines, treatments and respiratory medicines,” Minister Hunt said.

“In addition to the work we are doing with CSL on production, international and domestic producers on acquisition, and the GAVI Covax facility on shared international access arrangements, this request seeks additional expressions of interest from those who could contribute to any part of the vaccine research, production or distribution process.”

“We are confident these actions and investments will secure early and sufficient access to vaccine identified as safe and effective.”

Local manufacturers can make a submission here. The closing date for submissions is 20 August 2020.